Date of Award

Summer 2023

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Economics, PhD


School of Social Science, Politics, and Evaluation

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Paul Zak

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Pierangelo De Pace

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Yi Feng

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2023 Rawan Alothaim


Behavioral economics, Celebrity influence, Donation decisions, Foreign Direct Investment, Macroeconomics, Risk preferences

Subject Categories

Economics | Social and Behavioral Sciences


This dissertation encompasses three chapters. Two delve into behavioral aspects of charitable donations during the COVID-19 pandemic, investigating celebrity influence and racial disparities, as well as risk preferences. The third chapter shifts to macroeconomics, examining the relationship between Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and economic growth in Saudi Arabia over a long-term horizon. The first chapter investigates the effectiveness of celebrity endorsements on charitable giving during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants' donation decisions were compared after exposure to celebrity and non-profit expert endorsements. Logistic regression and Ordinary Least Squares regression were used to analyze the impact of independent variables on the likelihood and total amount of donations. Findings suggest that celebrities did not significantly affect overall donation behavior, consistent with previous research. The study found no significant difference between celebrity and expert endorsements in terms of donation decisions, underscoring that the primary challenge for non-profit organizations is outreach, as the choice of messenger appears to have minimal impact on donation decisions. The second chapter investigates donation decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically examining racial disparities in charitable giving and the relationship between risk preferences and donations. The analysis is based on the financial contributions made by the average US citizen to food banks in the fourth quarter of 2020. The study finds that a substantial portion of the population (57%) was willing to support charitable causes during this challenging period. Additionally, it reveals that Black participants were more likely to donate and, on average, donate more than individuals from other racial groups. This finding aligns with previous evidence highlighting the generosity of Black individuals in charitable giving. Contrary to some prior results, the study uncovers that risk-averse individuals, as indicated by their frequent use of masks during the pandemic, were more likely to donate. These insights shed light on the role of empathy and donation motivations, offering valuable implications for fundraising campaigns targeting diverse racial groups and individuals with different risk preferences. The third chapter explores the implications of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) on Saudi Arabia's economic growth, a topic of critical importance amidst the country's ongoing economic diversification under Vision 2030. We employ Autoregressive Distributed Lag (ARDL) models to scrutinize the effects of FDI intensity on the Kingdom's economic performance, utilizing annual data. Results reveal no significant short-term impact of FDI on economic growth. However, there is a notable long-run equilibrium relationship among FDI, inflation, interest rates, and GDP per capita growth. Historical crises and real interest rates also significantly influence economic growth. These findings echo the existing literature on the non-significant short-term effect of FDI on Saudi Arabia's economic growth, while pointing to potential long-term relationships.



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Economics Commons